PER NØRGÅRD (b. 1932):
FUGITIVE SUMMER – 3 movements for string orchestra (1992)
I: Soft voiced
The spectrum of sound, the gesticulation – in short, the very nature of the strings – has always had a central place in my output, demonstrated by the numbers of string quartets, concertos with string soloist, chamber and solo works. The interest dates back to my school years, when I was fortunate to be able to compose for a cello-playing schoolmate and to accompany him on the piano. I discovered then the innumerable nuances of sound and playing varieties offered by just one bow, four strings and five fingers..
“Fugitive Summer” is a lyrical work. One might compare the three movements with the "Nordic summer", with its subdued and unstable features. In Danish, the words of the title (Flyvende Sommer) are identical to the popular name for the minuscule spiders with their almost invisible threads, seen as silver glimpses in the air on certain days when the new-born creatures seek their future by letting the wind take them wherever my spirit blew..
Within this formal openness, certain linear developments may be perceived: in the first movement (Soft voiced), interlocking and wide-ranging chains of open fifths concentrate into a long-spun melody, covering several octaves. The second movement (Listening) starts and ends with an almost static sound world in the high register and with extremely soft dynamics, followed by a childlike, fragmentary melody which is interrupted by vague, lyric comments. As a contrast to these dreamy movements, the playful finale is vivacious, lively and melodic, characterized by steep, violent falling figures, often given to the solo violinist. Amidst the ritornello-like dance, an intermezzo returns in different shapes, but always with a two-tone turn in a major mode and at a moderate speed, followed by a similar turn in minor and slightly faster.
"Fugitive Summer" is dedicated to Juha Kangas & the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra.
Per Nørgård (1999)
Note: The Introduction (The spectrum….five fingers..”) to be used ad lib..